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Archive for the ‘Yellow Parrot Forces’ Category

Iraqi Shiite militias push to take villages west of Mosul

February 22, 2017

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s government-sanctioned paramilitary forces, made up mainly of Shiite militiamen, have launched a new push to capture villages west of the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.

The forces’ spokesman, Ahmed al-Asadi, said on Wednesday that the villages are located southwest of the town of Tal Afar, still held by the Islamic State group. He didn’t provide details but the move by the umbrella group of mostly Shiite militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces is likely coordinated with government effort to recapture western part of Mosul from IS.

Iraqi government forces this week took a hilltop area overlooking the Mosul city airport. The Shiite militias already hold a small airport outside Tal Afar, which is s located some 93 miles (150 kilometers) east of the Syrian border.

Iraqi army, militias capture villages, base near Mosul

17 November 2016 Thursday

Iraqi army troops and Shia militiamen have captured six more villages near Mosul — along with a military base — from the ISIL terrorist group, a military source said late Wednesday.

According to Abdul-Amir Yarallah, a lieutenant-general in the Iraqi army, federal police forces had managed to “liberate” the village of Al-Azbah, located south of the ISIL-held city.

Yarallah also said the army’s Ninth Division had captured Aaqub village southeast of Mosul, while Hashd al-Shaabi militiamen had taken the villages of Tel Suwan, Tel Izzo, Tel Shiyan and Al-Hamra, all of which are located to the west of the city.

The Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of pro-government Shia militias, confirmed late Wednesday that it had seized Tal Afar Airport from the terrorist group.

Tal Afar is a majority-Turkmen city in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the provincial capital.

On Monday, the Hashd al-Shaabi — in coordination with the Iraqi army’s Joint Operations Command — launched the third phase of an ongoing operation to retake areas east of Tal Afar, which is located some 65 kilometers west of Mosul.

Source: World Bulletin.


Shiite militias join the battle as Iraqis push toward Mosul

October 29, 2016

SHURA, Iraq (AP) — State-sanctioned Shiite militias joined Iraq’s Mosul offensive on Saturday with a pre-dawn assault to the west, where they hope to complete the encirclement of the Islamic State-held city and sever supply lines from neighboring Syria.

Other Iraqi forces aided by U.S.-led airstrikes and heavy artillery meanwhile drove IS from the town of Shura, south of Mosul, where the militants had rounded up civilians to be used as human shields.

The twin thrusts come nearly two weeks into the offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city, but most of the fighting is still taking place in towns and villages far from its outskirts, and the entire operation is expected to take weeks, if not months.

The involvement of the Iranian-backed Shiite militias has raised concerns that the battle for Mosul, a Sunni-majority city, could aggravate sectarian tensions. Rights groups have accused the militias of abuses against civilians in other Sunni areas retaken from IS, accusations the militia leaders deny.

The umbrella group for the militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Units, says they will not enter Mosul itself and will instead focus on retaking Tal Afar, a town to the west that had a Shiite majority before it fell to IS in 2014.

Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for the group, told reporters in Baghdad that the militias had retaken 10 villages since the start of the pre-dawn operation. But there was likely still some fighting underway, and he said forces were removing explosive booby-traps left by IS to slow their advance.

Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the Hezbollah Brigades, said his group and the other militias had advanced 4 miles (7 kilometers) toward Tal Afar and used anti-tank missiles to destroy three suicide car bombs that were heading toward them.

He said the U.S.-led coalition, which is providing airstrikes and ground support to the Iraqi military and Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga, is not playing any role in the Shiite militias’ advance. He said Iranian advisers and Iraqi aircraft were helping them.

Many of the militias were originally formed after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to battle American forces and Sunni insurgents. They were mobilized again and endorsed by the state when IS swept through northern and central Iraq in 2014.

Iraqi troops approaching Mosul from the south advanced into Shura after a wave of U.S.-led airstrikes and artillery shelling against militant positions inside the town. Commanders said most of the IS fighters withdrew earlier this week with civilians, but that U.S. airstrikes had disrupted the forced march, allowing some civilians to escape.

“After all this shelling, I don’t think we will face much resistance,” Iraqi army Maj. Gen. Najim al-Jabouri said as the advance got underway. “This is easy, because there are no civilians left,” he added.

But hours later, a few families who had hunkered down during the fighting emerged. The government has urged people to remain in their homes, fearing a mass exodus from Mosul, which is still home to more than 1 million people.

By the afternoon, Brig. Gen. Firas Bashar said his forces were clearing explosives and searching for IS fighters in Shura. The sound of artillery still echoed in the distance. In Baghdad, meanwhile, an IS suicide bomber targeting an aid station for Shiite pilgrims killed at least seven people and wounded more than 20, police and hospital officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The Sunni extremist group often target Iraq’s Shiite majority, which it views as apostates deserving of death. The Mosul offensive involves more than 25,000 soldiers, Federal Police, Kurdish fighters, Sunni tribesmen and the Shiite militias.

Iraqi forces moving toward the city from several directions have made uneven progress since the offensive began Oct. 17. They are 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the edge of Mosul on the eastern front, where Iraq’s special forces are leading the charge. But progress has been slower in the south, with Iraqi forces still 20 miles (35 kilometers) from the city.

The U.N. human rights office said Friday that IS has rounded up tens of thousands of civilians in and around Mosul to use as human shields, and has massacred more than 200 Iraqis in recent days, mainly former members of the security forces.

The militants have carried out mass killings of perceived opponents in the past and boasted about them in grisly photos and videos circulated online. The group is now believed to be cracking down on anyone who could rise up against it, focusing on men with military training or past links to the security forces.

Abdul-Zahra reported from Irbil, Iraq. Associated Press writers Joseph Krauss in Baghdad and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

Iraq: Popular Mobilization Forces burn mosques and kill dozens in Baiji

Monday, 26 October 2015

An Iraqi tribal leader has accused Shia Popular Mobilization Forces of burning mosques and killing dozens of people in Baiji in the Salahuddin province in Iraq.

Sheikh Abdul Razzaq Al-Shammari said: “Eight mosques were burned and destroyed in the city of Baiji by the Popular Mobilization Forces in the past days,” adding that dozens of people were arrested and taken to an unknown destination.

Al-Shammari explained that the city of Baiji is currently witnessing “genocide” after the forces destroyed the mosques and then burned them.

On 12 October, Iraqi national army, with the support of the Popular Mobilization Forces, launched large-scale military operations that aimed at restoring the city of Baiji after it was seized by Daesh.

Baiji is located 210 kilometers north of Baghdad and has the largest oil refinery in Iraq.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Shia militias refuse to stop looting in Tikrit

Monday, 06 April 2015

Iraqi security sources have said that the Shia militias in Tikrit have refused to stop mass looting and killings in the city recaptured from ISIS a couple of days ago, Jordan’s Al-Sabeel newspaper reported on Sunday. It was said earlier that Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi had sent his forces to the city to end the looting, killing and destruction of houses and shops.

However, claim the sources, these particular militias refused to leave the city along with the “Popular Crowd” militia, which withdrew from the city on Saturday and handed over responsibility for security to the federal police.

Several international media reports allege that the Shia militias have carried out mass executions and widespread looting and destruction of property in Tikrit since it was recaptured last week. As many as 76 people were summarily executed by the militias, it is claimed; their bodies were dragged through the streets.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one Tikrit resident, Waleed Omar, fled the city during the fighting earlier this month. “This looting issue is 100 per cent true,” he said, “and it means new suffering for the people of Tikrit.” ISIS displaced people in Tikrit after committing horrible crimes against them, he added, and now the militias are looting and burning their homes.

The head of the provincial council of Salahuddin province, Ahmed Al-Kareem, told reporters, “Tikrit is chaotic and things are out of control. The police forces and officials there are helpless to stop the militias.”

Both Al-Kareem and the governor of Salahuddin left Tikrit, the provincial capital, on Friday night, in protest at the failure of the Iraqi government to curb looting and murder. “Houses and shops were burnt after they stole everything,” Al-Kareem told Reuters. Pointing out that hundreds of buildings have been set on fire, he said: “Our city was burnt down in front of our eyes. We cannot control what is going on.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Salim Al-Jabbour said that the deterioration of the situation in Diyala province, north-east of Baghdad, ended after an agreement with the head of Al-Sadri militias, in addition to other parties to the political process. Before this agreement, Shia militias were also engaged there in mass looting, property destruction and killing after recapturing the area from ISIS.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Survivors accuse Shiite militia of Iraq village massacre

By Jean Marc MOJON, Ammar Karim

Baghdad (AFP)

Jan 29, 2015

The Iraqi government vowed Thursday to investigate accusations backed by eyewitness accounts that Shiite militias massacred more than 70 Sunni villagers during an operation against jihadists in Diyala province.

Survivors and Sunni officials say the massacre took place on Monday in Barwana as soldiers and allied militias wrapped up an operation to expel Islamic State (IS) jihadists from their last urban bastion in Diyala.

Some military officials have already denied the allegations but Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that an inquiry has been opened.

“The prime minister has ordered an investigation into the matter,” his spokesman Rafid Jaboori told AFP, without elaborating.

Barwana is a small village located just west of the town of Muqdadiyah. It housed several Sunni families who had fled IS rule over neighboring villages.

Shiite militiamen entered Barwana on Monday and allegedly selected young men after checking their IDs before lining them up to be shot.

“Cars filled with men carrying mostly light weapons entered the village. They gathered all the people in one place, including some children,” said Nahda al-Daini, a lawmaker from Diyala.

“They executed 77 of them,” she told AFP. “It was Shiite militia forces who carried out this massacre with cover from the security forces.”

Ali Juburi, a 27-year-old father of one, fled to Barwana from nearby Hamada village in June, when IS jihadists swept through swathes of Iraq.

– Hiding in orchards –

He said that when the fighters entered the village, some men were taken to one side.

“They were still checking some names when we heard shooting and women screaming,” he told AFP by phone.

“The mukhtar (village chief) went to a house where killings happened. He found 35 bodies in one place and there were about 40 other bodies nearby,” he said.

“He came back and told us to leave everything behind and run because they would kill us. So we ran to an orchard, hid and walked. I eventually reached Muqdadiyah at 1:00 am,” Juburi said.

Jamal Mohamed, a teacher who has been compiling names of the victims, said he knew of 71 people who had been executed on Monday but added that a few more were still missing.

“There were four boys aged nine to 12 among the victims, but no women nor girls,” he said.

He added that to his knowledge only 12 of the victims had been buried, while the other bodies had been taken by government elite forces to an unknown location.

The teacher said Monday had started well.

“When an army commander and officials came in the morning, they were greeted with applause. Some women distributed sweets… We just told them we wanted to go back to our villages,” he said.

“They left but, later, the militiamen arrived in several vehicles. They had laptops and started listing names,” he said.

– Army denial –

Several other witnesses AFP spoke to gave slightly different death tolls but largely matching versions of events.

Lieutenant General Abdulamir al-Zaidi, the officer who commanded army operations in the Moqdadiyah area, denied the allegations.

“Not a bullet was shot in Barwana,” he told AFP, adding that 70 Iraqi forces were killed and at least twice that number of IS jihadists in the Diyala operation.

He said his men had found evidence that IS fighters had shaved their beards in their retreat in an apparent bid to escape by blending in with local residents.

Ali Juburi and Jamal Mohamed said the alleged executioners had scribbled messages on walls praising Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite saint.

Another message read “Revenge for Speicher”, in a reference to the IS massacre of hundreds of young recruits at a base near the northern city of Tikrit on June 12.

Top UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov welcomed the investigation.

“It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all armed forces are under its control, that rule of law is respected and civilians are protected in all areas of the country, including those areas recently liberated from IS,” he said.

The government last year announced a probe into allegations that Shiite militias had gunned down 70 men at the Sunni mosque of Musab bin Omair in August.

The mosque is also in Diyala, an ethnically and religiously mixed province northeast of Baghdad, where Iran-backed Shiite militias have played a key role in the fight against IS.

Rights groups have documented many cases of revenge attacks and abuses by Shiite militias against Sunnis.

The accusations have infuriated Shiite leaders who argue it was the militias, which they prefer to call “Popular Mobilisation” forces, that saved Baghdad and the rest of Iraq from falling to IS.

Source: Space War.


Iraqi Shiites threaten departing U.S. army

Baghdad (UPI)
Sep 20, 2011

U.S. troops preparing to pull out of Iraq face a growing threat from a Shiite militia known as Asaib Ahl al-Haq, founded and led by veteran insurgent Qais al-Khazali.

U.S. commanders say AAH is one of the most dangerous groups in Iraq and, along with other Shiite militant groups like the Promised Day Brigades and the Hezbollah Brigades, is backed and armed by Iran.

The group claims it is funded by sympathetic Iraqis but these are believed to include backers of the Mehdi Movement led by Iranian-backed cleric Moqtada Sadr who fought the Americans in 2004-07.

Khazali was once spokesman for al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army militia. That organization has officially been disbanded but most of its hard-liners have re-emerged with other militant groups such as AAH.

Asaid Ahl al-Haqm, whose name means “League of the Righteous,” maintains an office in Beirut, where it liaises with Hezbollah, Iran’s longtime proxy in the Levant and the Tehran regime’s strike arm against Israel.

AAH is also understood to have financial assets in the Lebanese capital, a major Middle Eastern banking hub that maintains tight secrecy about foreign assets held there.

U.S. intelligence sources say that Hezbollah, which was formed by Iran after the Israelis invaded Lebanon in June 1982, was instrumental in organizing and training AAH, and other “special groups” of Iraqi Shiite militants set up by Iran following the U.S. invasion of March 2003.

One of the key Hezbollah operatives who worked with the elite al-Quds Force, the covert action arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, to establish these groups was Ali Mussa Daqduq. He was captured by coalition forces March 20, 2007, along with Qais al-Khazali, and his brother Laith.

These three headed a Shiite group that kidnapped and killed five U.S. soldiers outside Karbala, a Shiite holy city south of Baghdad, Jan. 20, 2007.

The Khazalis were released in a 2009 prisoner exchange with Iran. Daqduq, who was sent to Iraq in 2005 to build a local version of Hezbollah, was a lieutenant of the Lebanese group’s iconic operations chief, Imad Mughniyeh, assassinated in Damascus Feb. 12, 2008.

Daqduq remains in U.S. custody in Iraq and this poses a dilemma for the Americans: If they hand him over to the Shiite-dominated Baghdad government when the U.S. military withdrawal is scheduled to be completed Dec. 31, Daqduq would almost certainly be delivered to the Iranians and freed or “allowed to escape” as other high-value prisoners have done in recent months.

But if the Americans hold onto him, they would either have to send him to Guantanamo Bay or put him on trial, neither of which is considered a viable option.

There was a plan to quietly hand him over to Iraqi authorities in July. But word leaked out and senior members of the U.S. Congress were outraged that “the highest ranking Hezbollah operative currently in our custody” should be released “to kill more American servicemen and women.”

The plan was dropped. But if the Americans take him with them when they depart that will leave them with the thorny legal question of how to prosecute him.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq is believed to have several thousand operatives, highly trained by al-Quds Force and its Hezbollah allies, and primed to go on the attack to speed the Americans on their way or to mount a full-scale offensive against them if Baghdad extends a U.S. military presence in Iraq, as the U.S. administration and Republicans in Congress want.

There are indications the “special groups” are flexing their muscles. AAH sent a warning July 4 by rocketing Baghdad’s heavily protected Green Zone.

“Like its predecessor, Jaish al-Mahdi (al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army), AAH is becoming a catch-all for a wide range of militants who seek to engage in violence for a host of ideological, sectarian or purely commercial motives,” observed Michael Knights, an expert on Iraq currently with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Iran, determined to stamp its authority over its oil-rich neighbor and traditional foe once the Americans go, can unleash these “special groups” any time it wants to.

One ominous sign is the recent return to Iraq from Iran of two other notorious group commanders, Sadrist breakaway Abu Mustapha al-Sheibani and Ismail al-Lami, aka Abu Deraa, one of the most bloodthirsty of the Shiite warlords.

Source: Space War.

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